**Warning: Spoilers if you haven’t seen Poldark series four episode two**
Poldark had it all in episode two – the death of poor, swooning poet Hugh Armitage, a new career for Ross Poldark (or The Rt Hon Ross Poldark MP as we will now have to call him), and yes, another glimpse of randy Reverend Ossie Whitworth sucking a toe. If that wasn’t enough, there was even a bit of wrestling for good measure.
It hasn’t looked great for him for a while – all that head clutching, the fact that he said he was going to go blind and the poems, my god the poems. All penned in the service of his rarely subtle attempts to nick Demelza off Ross following their love among the sand dunes moment in series three.
Armitage’s gruff uncle Lord Falmouth (James Wilby) wanted the lad election fit. But Hugh’s fate was sealed when Falmouth announced that he’d had enough of Dr Enys’ considered diagnosis and told his servant something no patient wants to hear: send for Doctor Choake.
“Sending for Doctor Choake” has never ended very well in Poldark. Dr Choake has something of a history in this show and it’s never struck me as the most reassuring name for a medical man. And sure enough, if Choake’s considered treatment of “blistering, purging, vomiting, poulting and bleeding” sounded a bit medieval that’s because it was. Not Enys’ scientific powders for him, no siree. Though luckily he never got to deliver “trepanation” on poor Hugh (trepanation being an opening of the skull to let out pressure).
The precise cause of the poet’s passing was never quite clear, however. Was he love sick? Perhaps he’d had enough of his own god-awful poems – I certainly had. Last week’s “And if this day be all. Proud is my heart’s recall. Proud is my funeral pall” nearly finished me off.
Hugh really did claim that if Demelza gave him hope he might pull through. And of course it was pretty decent of Ross not to stand in his way, knowing as he now does what passed between the two. Ross (unless the character is a better actor than Aidan Turner) also seemed genuinely keen for him to pull through.
But that’s heroism for you. You root for the man who slept with your beloved wife. It’s in the contract. Our hero wasn’t going to stand in the way of Demelza’s grieving either – leaving her be as she shed great torrents of tears by pregnant Caroline’s fireside. And it allowed them to talk about what happened, Demelza saying she was heartbroken not just because of Hugh but because of the “sad, sorry, broken world”.
But at least Ross can now do something about that. Because in perhaps the best news of the night, he pipped ghastly George Warleggan to the local Parliamentary seat in a nail biting finish that would (in later years) have got David Dimbleby jumping up and down in his studio seat. And so Ross took the coach to London, bidding his poor family goodbye.
The Ross-Demelza union has been tested in the past, don’t we Poldark fans know it. And it seems like his absence will challenge them further. But at least it will also give Ross a chance to exercise his do-goodery in the seat of government.
It was also nice to see George get his comeuppance – and Elizabeth, too; now a fully paid up member of Team George, she will have to put her London gowns to one side.
The fledgling love between Demelza’s religious zealot brother Sam Carne and Tholly Tregirls’ spiky daughter Emma (Ciara Charteris, below) also took a blow. Sam agreed to wrestle George’s brutal gamekeeper Tom Harry if Emma repented of her sins. But Sam – a slighter fellow than his opponent, let’s be honest – was undone from certain victory when Harry resorted to nasty tactics, gouging the poor lad’s eye in a scene which all seemed a bit too Game of Thrones for lovely Poldark. And then he said that he had slept with Emma, which put Sam right off.
Still, brutish Tom was dismissed by George, who finally came good on his pledge to dispense with the thug at the end of series three. He’s not going to take that well – and George would do well to look out.
And if that wasn’t enough excitement, we got to see the Reverend Ossie Whitworth’s toe sucking again. He was, he delightfully informed us, using the services of a “common drab” on account of his wife’s weird disinclination to sleep with a fat sleaze who had “debauched” her sister Rowella.
We also saw Rowella again, and judging by the look she gave the randy Reverend at the close of the action, it seems she continues to enjoy toying with him. Now that is a story that isn’t going to die. Just like ructions in the Ross-Demelza union.
The montage for next week’s episode contained hints of Ross in a potentially compromising situation with another woman. And a scene with Demezla had him wondering “perhaps we don’t know each other.”
It’s going to be an interesting ride next week, Poldark fans. Bumpier, even, than Ross’ carriage trip to London I’d wager.
Poldark season four airs on Sundays, 9/8c, Masterpiece on PBS
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